Photodynamic Therapy uses a special blue light in combination with a medication called Levulan® or aminolaevulinic acid to treat pre-cancerous lesions (or Actinic Keratoses) and superficial skin cancers.
The first step in this system is when the clinician applies Levulan® Kerastick to either specific lesions or an entire area (face, hand, etc). Prior to this the area is thoroughly cleaned. This unique solution is an acid that occurs naturally in your body. It makes areas such as Actinic Keratosis or superficial skin cancers more sensitive to light.
After waiting 1-2 hours, the area being treated is then exposed to a special blue light for approximately 16 minutes (this may vary slightly).
During Step 2 (blue light therapy), at least half of the patients in the clinical studies felt a stinging and/or burning in the treated areas. Usually this improved immediately after treatment and ended within 24 hours. (Less than 3% of patients discontinued therapy because of this discomfort). After treatment, a small number of patients experienced some temporary reddening and swelling of the AKs and surrounding skin, which was generally gone by 2 weeks after treatment.
After treatment, the Levulan solution will be rinsed from the treated area and you will apply sunscreen. Please bring a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses to wear home from this appointment. You must be prepared to practice strict avoidance of any sun exposure for 48 hours after your treatment. This includes avoiding time spent near a window inside your house or car. Usually we recommend a series of 2 treatments, 2 weeks apart. Additional treatments may be recommended, depending on response.